by Ayobami Olopade
The paralysis in the education sector in Nigeria continued on Tuesday when members of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in the Federal Ministry of Education, including the Headquarters of the Ministry, the Inspectorate Departments and the 104 Federal Unity Colleges nationwide began a four-day warning strike over alleged government refusal to implement the agreement between Federal Government and Labour on the conditions of service of members, among other things.
Earlier in March 2013, ASCSN and the Ministry of Education led by Professor Rukkayatu Rufai reached an agreement on outstanding Labour issues affecting members of the union in the ministry.
Announcing the commencement of the strike, the leadership of ASCSN, in a letter dated 25 November to the Supervising Minister of Education and copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Director General, Department of State Service, DSS, threatened a full blown nationwide strike which might involve other trade unions if the government fails to address the demands of the union at the end of the warning strike.
The letter, signed by its General Secretary, Alade Bashir Lawal stated that “it is pertinent to state here that the ultimatum given to the ministry has now expired and nothing concrete was done to implement the agreement even though we have been able to confirm the release of about N825 million by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to the Federal Ministry of Education to pay outstanding promotion arrears to members of staff in the ministry. The sum of N298,297,913 out of this amount was actually released in December,2012, representing promotion arrears for 2011 while N527,643,440 was released for 2007,2008,2009 and 2013 promotion arrears.”
It further lamented that “It is disheartening to note that eight months after the signing of the agreement and three months after the August 27,2013 meeting, almost all the issues agreed upon, particularly payment of promotion arrears to affected members of staff were not implemented by the ministry”
This impending total shutdown of the education sector portends bad days for the nation if nothing is done to resolve the ongoing strike actions by ASUU and ASCSN.